All drivers have a legal duty to watch out for the safety and well being of pedestrians. Sadly, pedestrian collisions still happen far too frequently in Northern New England.
According to data collected and published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), 51 pedestrians were killed in crashes in Vermont and New Hampshire between the years 2014 and 2016.
Many more innocent people sustained severe, even life-altering injuries in pedestrian accidents.
Following a pedestrian crash, injured victims need to take the proper steps to protect their rights and interests. While financial compensation is available through a personal injury lawsuit, insurance companies do not make the process easy. Injured victims need strong, professional legal representation.
One of the most common questions that our pedestrian accident lawyers get asked is the following: How much is my pedestrian accident lawsuit worth? It is a very important question, but it is not one with a simple or straightforward answer.
There is no true ‘average settlement’. Under the laws in Vermont and New Hampshire, injured pedestrians should be compensated for the full value of their damages.
Pedestrian Injuries: How Much Will My Settlement Be?
Pedestrian accident injury settlements are based on several different factors. The key thing to know is that injured victims have the right to recover full and fair financial compensation for both their out-of-pocket monetary losses and their intangible damages.
Put another way, your settlement should account for the complete value of your losses. In determining exactly how much compensation will be made available, there are three primary factors that must be considered:You
1. Must Prove Liability
First and foremost, injured pedestrians must prove liability. In Vermont and New Hampshire, pedestrian accident claims are fault-based legal cases. Contrary to what some people believe, a driver is not automatically at fault if they strike a pedestrian.
It is possible that their insurance company could defend a claim by arguing that the pedestrian bears some, or all, of the responsibility for the accident. Indeed, insurance adjusters frequently try to find reasons to push some of the fault back on the injured pedestrian. For this reason, it is imperative that you hire an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon as possible after being struck by a vehicle.
Your lawyer will help you gather and prepare all of the evidence needed to establish liability. Getting stuck with even a small percentage of the blame could take thousands of dollars directly out of your settlement check.
2. You Must Document Your Damages
Proving liability is only the first step in the pedestrian accident claims process. Next, you must present a well-documented accounting of your damages. With some limited exceptions, a personal injury settlement will be purely compensatory in nature.
In other words, your pedestrian accident settlement should include financial relief for your specific losses. Among other things, compensation can be sought for emergency room treatment, medical bills, physical rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental distress, permanent disfigurement, reduced quality of life, and wrongful death.
Your pedestrian accident attorney will help you put together the supporting evidence to prove the value of your damages. Insurers are notorious for undervaluing damages. Do not let them get away with it. You should not accept a pedestrian accident settlement unless it offers full and fair financial support.
3. Insurance Coverage Matters
Finally, the insurance coverage of the defendant is a relevant factor. In the overwhelming majority of cases, pedestrian accident lawsuits are defended by large insurance companies. The policy limits could potentially affect your legal claim.
In some cases, such as an underinsured motorist accident, plaintiffs may have to deal with a complicated questions regarding insurance. Your pedestrian accident attorney will help explore every possible path to recovery so that you can get to the full compensation that you rightfully deserve.
As the above mentioned factors will vary in any given case, there is no true standard pedestrian accident settlement. For example, if an injured pedestrian only required minor medical attention after their collision, the claim may be settled for a few thousand dollars.
On the other end of the spectrum, if the injured pedestrian suffered a catastrophic injury, the case may be worth millions of dollars. No matter the specific circumstances, injured pedestrians need access to full compensation for their damages.
Why You Need the Best Pedestrian Accident Attorney
Similar to other personal injury claims, few pedestrian accidents claims actually go through a complete trial. As noted by the Department of Justice (DOJ), more than 95 percent of personal injury claims filed in the United States are settled before litigation.
That being said, reaching a settlement in a pedestrian accident case is rarely an easy or quick process. The large insurance companies have considerable experience in defending personal injury claims. They will do everything in their power to settle the claim for the lowest amount possible — likely offering you far less than you actually deserve.
Effective negotiation matters. If you or your loved one suffered an injury in a pedestrian crash in Vermont or New Hampshire, you need a personal injury lawyer who has the legal skills and relevant experience to hold the insurance company accountable.
Only when insurers recognize the total value of your case and the fact that your lawyer will be able to hold them liable should your claim go to court will they offer a fair settlement. Every pedestrian accident claim should be reviewed on case-by-case basis. Our attorney will make sure that you get every penny you deserve.
Get Help From Our Vermont and New Hampshire Pedestrian Accident Attorneys Today
At Sabbeth Law, our top-rated personal injury lawyers are strong and compassionate advocates for pedestrian accident victims. We are committed to getting our clients the maximum settlement offer.
If you or your loved one was hit by a vehicle, we want to discuss your case. To set up a free, strictly confidential review of your pedestrian accident claim, please contact our law firm right away. Our law office handles personal injury lawsuits throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.